The beautiful and culture rich island of Bali is a melting pot of alluring natural and traditional attractions.
From the rugged landscape that comprises steaming volcanoes, sparkling lakes and sandy shores, to the unique religious devotion found in the form of striking temples, colourful decoration and vibrant festivals; it’s no surprise that holidays in Bali top many a destination wish list.
Bali holidays also give visitors the opportunity for some active adventures. The numerous volcanic peaks that adorn the island present fantastic hiking and climbing challenges to the macho, all-conquering holidaymaker, while a variety of water sports, such as diving, kite surfing and snorkelling can be undertaken around the island’s coast.
Whether you seek sun, culture, or adventure, Indonesia’s premier holiday destination will meet your demands.
The majority of visitors choose to flock to the action-packed south coast for a large portion of their holidays in Bali. The areas of Kuta, Seminyak and Nusa Dua are heavily developed, boasting a hefty smattering of water sports, a vibrant party culture and some great seafood dining. Luxurious, 5-star hotels and resorts are commonplace, allowing you to wake up to the sights and sounds of the sea.
Bali holidays can be more laidback and civilised, and this vibe is most notably experienced in and around the island’s central region, which introduces holidaymakers to the rich traditional and religious ethos present throughout Bali. The beautiful and hypnotic town of Ubud transports you into the heart of Bali’s culture, while basing you just a stone’s throw from stunning countryside decorated by sprawling rice paddies and luscious green hills. Ubud is also famed for its strong spiritual ideology, found in the countless yoga and spa resorts dotted amongst Hindu temples and towering forest.
Beach bums will find a special slice of paradise in Bali’s extensive coastline. Partygoers will revel in the southern towns of Kuta, Sanur and Seminyak, all offering a vibrant nightlife beside the sea, and at low cost. The months of June to September will bring the best of south Bali’s attractions, as this period sees very little rain, ensuring the weather won’t pose a threat to your family’s day of water sports or sunbathing, two key activities on holidays to Bali.
Countryside exploration in central Bali is probably best avoided during the monsoon season, which descends on Bali from December to March, while the humidity at this time can make treks and climbs an uncomfortable experience. Taking a bicycle tour around Ubud’s surrounding villages is a fantastic way to discover a more traditional and sedate region of the island. The months of September and October experience the least humidity, making those hill climbs a little kinder.
Underwater activities are best enjoyed in calm waters, and heading to the eastern coast will transport you away from the surf-friendly beaches found in the south. The villages around Amed offer some fantastic diving opportunities, as well as the best seafood on the island.
In the far north of Bali you will find the town of Lovina, famed for its dolphin spotting trips. The cheeky chaps are common in this area year-round, providing a fantastic day trip for holidaymakers hoping to catch a glimpse of this much-loved ocean-dweller.
Out and about in Bali
The south of the island promises lively holidays in Bali, with a typical daily schedule consisting of sunbathing, swimming, surfing, drinking and dancing. The beach areas in and around Kuta epitomise a stereotypical backpackers haunt, so expect a vibrant, multicultural atmosphere coated in a regular dose of alcohol and a soundtrack of booming beats, and some great shopping opportunities.
If you’d rather swap party for solace, you can find more peaceful stretches of beach along Bali’s east coast. The small towns of Padang Bai and Candidasa were once traditional fishing villages that now experience a steady influx of tourists hoping to discover tranquil, sandy beaches.
Further up the coast is the attractive village of Amed which sits in the shadow of Mount Agung, Bali’s highest peak and an active volcano. Amed offers the best underwater action of any destination in Bali. The protected reef presents fantastic snorkelling opportunities just metres from the coast, but if you fancy getting deeper, you can dive with one of the many schools around the village.
If you want to get your boots dirty, Bali has some great climbing and trekking opportunities. Mount Batur and Mount Agung are challenging climbs suited to adventure junkies, while greater ease can be found in the stunning scenic treks around the village of Munduk.
If you’re looking for more inspiration on your Bali holiday, check out our things to do guide.